Deciduous small tree or large shrub, 3-10 m tall; bark dark reddish-brown to black.
Alternate, deciduous, rounded to sharp-pointed at the tip, usually doubly saw-toothed, thin and membranous, 1-7 cm long, leaf stalks more than 1 cm long.
Male and female flowers in separate catkins 2-4 cm long; flowers emerging before or with the leaves; catkins breaking up at maturity.
Nutlets with broad wings, at least twice as wide as the nutlets; bracts with pointed, lateral lobes.
If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.
Illustration Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
Present over the Spring
Source: The USDA
||Value / Class
Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
of field plots
species was recorded in:
BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in
|BG(23), BWBS(9), CWH(1), ESSF(4), ICH(12), IDF(81), MS(18), PP(39), SBS(4), SWB(6)|
Source: Klinkenberg 2013
Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Betula beeniana A. Nels.
Betula fontinalis Sarg.
Betula occidentalis var. inopina (Jepson) C.L. Hitchc.
Betula papyrifera subsp. occidentalis (Hook.) HultΘn
Betula papyrifera var. occidentalis (Hook.) Sarg.
Cut-leaf Water Birch
Water birch is a small, shrubby birch found [particularly] in the southern interior of British Columbia and is distinguished from paper birch by its smaller size and by the presence of wartlike glands on its twigs. The leaves are roughly heart shaped with small teeth along the margins. In the cut-leaf mutant, found near Revelstoke, the developmet of the leaf is limited to narrow regions along some of the main veins so that the leaves look like mere skelteons of normal leaves.
Extracted from Griffiths and Ganders, 1983. Wildflower Genetics: A Field Guide for British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest.